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Compound semiconductors and applications in South Wales

South Wales is pioneering the way forward in designing, developing, and commercialising the compound semiconductors needed for a net zero economy.

The CSconnected cluster in South Wales offers companies an end-to-end opportunity to service the growing global demand for compound semiconductor enabled technologies, worth a projected £230 billion by 2024.

This offer lowers the barriers to the adoption of advanced semiconductor technology. Companies can exploit the region’s assets and expertise across technology development. This includes research, innovation and design through to full-scale compound semiconductor manufacturing, providing solutions across a range of high-growth applications.

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Location:

South Wales

Investment type:

Foreign direct investment

Sector:

Green finance and innovation

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Michael Green

Senior Investment Adviser

Contact the opportunity lead

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Sector and market opportunity

Widespread adoption of compound semiconductors across application areas is driving huge growth in the global market. South Wales offers investors a complete opportunity to meet growing demands for advanced, reliable technology in one location.

The region’s assets such as the Institute for Compound Semiconductors and the Centre for Integrative Semiconductor Materials are driving innovation. Assets such as the Compound Semiconductor Centre and the Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult are accelerating integration and commercialisation of this technology.

Further collaborative opportunities exist with compound semiconductor companies in the region including IQE, Rockley Photonics and SPTS Technologies (a KLA company).

Growth prospects

With the need for performance improvements in power electronics, photonics and sensing, and radio frequency and microwave applications, the global compound semiconductors-enabled technology market will be worth £230 billion by 2024.

Semiconductors will play a significant role in new and emerging technologies across sectors including transport, clean energy, digital communications and 5G, security and defence, healthcare and novel materials innovation.

Location

The CSconnected cluster in South Wales is the world’s first and only dedicated compound semiconductor cluster. Connecting expertise, capacities and capability within the private sector, public sector and academia has led to a critical mass of activity.

Connectivity

Cardiff Airport offers 50 direct routes and is connected to more than 900 other destinations through major airport hubs.

The direct rail service from London Paddington to Cardiff takes 1hr 45mins, with links to the rest of the UK.

Nearby ports providing freight options include Barry, Cardiff, Newport, Port Talbot and Swansea. Together they handle more than 12 million tonnes of cargo annually.

Local talent and skills

Six core partners and local companies offer expertise across the compound semiconductor supply chain. More than 1,800 highly skilled workers are employed in the sector.

Research and expertise

Four leading universities create 13,260 industry-ready graduates a year, specialising in engineering and technology, physical science and computer science. There are 10 universities within 100 miles of the South Wales semiconductor cluster, including Oxford, Bristol, Bath and Swansea.

Cardiff University is home to the Centre for Doctoral Training, which brings together expertise to train engineers and scientists with the skills, knowledge and confidence to tackle today’s evolving issues and future challenges.

The centre also creates new working cultures, builds relationships between teams and forges lasting links with industry.

The Institute for Compound Semiconductors undertakes fundamental research on compound semiconductor materials.

The Compound Semiconductor Centre is accelerating commercialisation of compound semiconductor materials and device research.

The Centre for Integrative Semiconductor Materials is bringing together advanced materials platforms and processes to deliver new technologies and products.

The Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult supports systems integrator and application developers, by translating technical requirements into specifications.

Region Spotlight
Wales

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Wales has a talented workforce and strong research and development facilities. It’s producing technology for the future in advanced manufacturing, life sciences, clean tech and digital sectors. Over 700 multinational companies have established themselves there, including Toyota, GE, Sony and Airbus.

View all investment opportunities in Wales

Enabling clean growth

The 10 point plan for a green industrial revolution sets out the approach government will take to accelerate the UK’s path to net zero. Advanced technologies enabled by new compound semiconductors will drive this growth, with demand from clean growth sectors including offshore wind, hydrogen production and usage, carbon capture, storage and usage, electric vehicles and green aircraft and marine.

Local and national government support

The 10 local authorities in Wales are working through the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal, proactively promoting the strengths of the cluster and supporting growth through investing in facilities, skills and providing planning advice.

The Welsh Government can provide bespoke packages of support based on project drivers, which can include financial assistance, tailored property solutions training, introduction to supply chain partners and recruitment.

The Welsh Government also offers programmes to support R&D, covering technical and commercial feasibility, industrial research and experimental development. This support does not preclude access to national support programs run by the UK government.

Success stories

IQE

IQE is the leading global supplier of atomically engineered wafers made into advanced semiconductors.

Government support was one of the factors in its decision to set up in South Wales, as well as its close links to Cardiff University, which was already active in compound semiconductor research.

Rockley Photonics

Rockley is an integrated photonics chipset developer and module supplier for high-volume sensor and communication products.

The company has developed a platform that can address huge and emerging markets, including health monitoring in consumer devices, data communications and machine vision.

SPTS

SPTS Technologies, a KLA company, designs and manufactures the wafer processing equipment used by major players in the global semiconductor industry

The long-standing relationships between SPTS and Welsh universities and their commercial arms provide valuable research and recruitment benefits.

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